Strangers | Chapter 41 of 53 - Part: 1 of 4

Author: Paul Finch | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1166 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter 34

If it had been testing enough at an easy pace using one hand to steer her powerful 900cc sports bike across Crowley and Bolton, Lucy knew that pursuing a pair of suspects at high speed would be much more of a challenge, especially as that one good hand was still smarting from where she’d been hit across the fingers.

But that wasn’t the only problem. First of all, she had to catch up with her targets. She powered across the Grantwood Gardens estate to its nearest entrance, which was on Beaumont Road. This in itself was a gamble. There were likely to be several other exits from the estate which the fugitives might have used, but Beaumont Road was a major artery in the district and the most likely to facilitate an escape. Even so, Lucy hesitated before pulling out into it. Did she go left or right?

Greater Manchester was now in the midst of rush hour, vehicles bottled up in both directions. Had they opted to go right from here, in effect turning across two lanes, it would have taken them longer to make good their flight. So most likely they’d gone left. Even then, the slow-moving traffic would hinder them, though it would hinder Lucy as well.

By necessity, she decided, the niceties of road behaviour could not be a consideration this evening.

She turned her machine left, but instead of forcing her way in among the sluggish, exhaust-pumping cars, she mounted the kerb and proceeded along the pavement. She didn’t screw the throttle for fear of pedestrians stepping out in front of her, but by the time she’d reached twenty-five she was already overtaking the traffic on the road. A couple more hundred yards – that was surely all it would take before she spotted them, but now, even at this low speed, her left arm was giving her problems. The increased throb of the Ducati’s v-twin engine sent painful vibrations along the fractured bone, and while the clutch wasn’t heavy, the fingers on that hand were stiff and restricted by her cast.

She gritted her teeth and pressed on, passing more and more slow-moving cars, many of their drivers and passengers glaring at her as she shot by, assuming her some lout attempting an illegal short-cut. And then, only a minute or so later, she spotted the Volkswagen CC.

It was about fifty yards ahead, and as she’d hoped, mired in the same jam.

She quickly decelerated and, when the first gap came along, veered out into the traffic to fall in place about five cars behind it.

Her thinking on this was twofold: firstly, because of the felons’ sedate pace, they clearly thought they’d eluded any pursuit and so were not risking mindless stunts like dangerous overtaking or heading the wrong way down one-way streets – but if they suddenly became aware of her now, she might panic them into doing precisely that; secondly, she was in no position to take these crazies down by herself, and so the best policy was to sit on their tail, hopefully without being noticed, and guide the support units in.

She filched her phone from her pocket, activating its speaker. ‘Adam, I’m on the A58, heading south. You’ve got to get someone along here, mate … everything’s cool at present, but these bastards are going to throw me off at some point.’

Apparently oblivious to her, the CC now swung casually north onto Wigan Road. This was a less congested route, and so the car slowly accelerated away. Lucy had to weave around a couple of the vehicles in front in order to make the turn herself, catching several angry toots, but determined to stay in touch. When the CC then veered onto Hulton Lane, Lucy banked in pursuit. This was an even more open road, so the target accelerated again. There were still a couple of cars between them, but now Lucy suspected that the duo had spotted her after all. She throttled up, trying discreetly to close the gap, and at the same time wondering what the endgame here was going to be.

She had no clue where the fugitives thought they were running to. They might have pre-prepared a bolthole for themselves, in the event of an emergency abandoning everything, including their house and their old lives, in order to stay at liberty. But that couldn’t be easy in this day and age. And if they’d noticed that she was tailing them, they were hardly likely to make it happen now. Not without trying to get rid of her first.

She dug her phone out again, but it was increasingly difficult. It meant she had to hold course with her left hand, and that limb wasn’t just agony now, it was dead wood in terms of the control she could affect through it.

‘Adam!’ she shouted. ‘I’m still sitting on these bastards. Where are you all?’

‘Lucy the whole network’s gridlocked. Everyone’s struggling …’

‘Enough excuses, Adam … we’re approaching St Helens Road, but I think they’ve clocked me and I expect we’ll have rabbits very, very soon. I need that support!

Ahead, another line of traffic waited at the junction with St Helens Road.

The CC decelerated again, so Lucy decelerated too. The lights changed and they proceeded, St Helens Road dipping under the M61 motorway, after which the CC swung onto Plodder Lane, now heading east towards Farnworth. The aptly named Plodder was basically a B road and largely empty of other cars, and Lucy found herself directly behind the target. There was about forty yards between them, but it was now a certainty that she’d been spotted. Slowly but noticeably, the CC sped ahead, effortlessly accelerating to fifty. Lucy did the same, increasingly tense though at least feeling good that they were veering towards the border with the N Division, as that was where most backup was likely to come from.

But then, at Glynne Street, the suspects broke for it.

The CC made a sudden crazy swerve, swinging out into Albert Road, cutting across two entire lanes of oncoming traffic, causing much screeching of tyres and shunting of vehicles, its driver then flooring his pedal as the southward route opened up in front of him.

Lucy threaded through the resulting chaos as fast as she could, which wasn’t very.

By the time she’d hit Albert Road, there was no sign of the CC. She zipped forward, looping around a sharp bend and only just avoiding an elderly couple in the act of crossing. The male of the two shook his walking stick at her as she blistered past.

The Volkswagen CC was fast, but the Ducati Monster was faster still, and nippier on the turn. When the target swam back into view, Lucy swiftly gained on it – only for its driver to make another unexpected manoeuvre, swerving right and vanishing onto the Collingbourne council estate. Lucy was horrified. There were still likely to be school kids around here. Despite the cold and dark, there might even be younger children playing out.

There was certainly lots of double-parking, which massively narrowed the thoroughfares they were now chasing through.

Again, she was perplexed as to where the fugitives thought they were running to. They’d reached the boundary between the K Division and the N, but this estate was a huge cul-de-sac in its own right. Still the CC attempted to shake her off, screeching around concrete islands, bulleting through unmarked crossroads. Unsuccessful with that, it hit the side streets and back alleys, wheelie bins flying everywhere, trash exploding in fountains. Hot breath fogged the inside of Lucy’s visor as she clung on behind; the pain in her arm now penetrated her entire left side. She was almost dizzy with it; only by focusing on the tail lights in front to the exclusion of all else, did she hold the course.

On the far edge of the estate, they spun onto a narrow lane called Chorlton Green. It ran between a row of drab maisonettes on one side and a tall hawthorn hedge on the other. Beyond the hawthorns lay the Barcroft playing fields, which were currently hidden in darkness. Lucy didn’t think that Chorlton Green led anywhere else, just swung right at its southp-east end and curved back among the council houses – which meant that if she could get some support units here, these maniacs were finally trapped.

She attempted to call Comms again, but almost lost control in the process, skidding along the gutter and nearly crashing headlong into a concrete waste bin, which some stupid kids had toppled over. She swerved past it so sharply that she smashed through a flimsy garden fence, and ploughed across two overgrown front lawns before regaining the road.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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